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'Gotham' recap, 'Everyone has a Cobblepot'

Everyone in Gotham has an albatross around their neck.

Jim has Penguin, Commissioner Loeb literally has a string of starlings to wear around his neck and half of the GCPD has their own Cobblepot, as Harvey and the episode's title plainly say. (I'll admit it: I love it when that happens!)

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This was one of those rare episodes where every plotline traces back to an earlier episode, rather than the typical introduce-then-forget-new-characters formula the writers are so fond of. "Gotham" should try this method more often.

"Everyone Has a Cobblepot" shows that having the albatross or Cobblepot isn't the problem; it's others knowing it, too. The darker and dirtier the secret is, the easier it is for others to exploit you.

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This is how Gotham works, Jim discovers, as he storms into Loeb's office. Jim's upset this time because the narc cop-turned-drug-kingpin Flass was exonerated of his murder charges.

On top of that, Flass has Loeb's full endorsement for president of the policeman's union. That's gotta sting.

Jim launches into his typical diatribe of how Loeb perverted the system. It's clear Loeb gives precisely zero damns.

"Know when you're beaten," Loeb shushes him. He then plays a video of Harvey lying, saying that the evidence that would lock away Flass was false. Gasp! Harvey, you'd better have a good reason for this.

"Do you honestly think you're the only one who had the order to take down a punk at the end of a pier and put a bullet in his head?" Harvey asks Jim. "The difference is… my Cobblepot didn't come back."

That crooked code of ethics doesn't cut it with Jim. "This ends today," he promises Harvey.

If Harvey and most of the GCPD have a secret, incriminating file, so does Loeb, Jim figures. Case in point: Loeb's wife died from "falling down the stairs," which sounds like the flimsiest cover up for a murder ever.

But since Jim doesn't trust Harvey "Lackadaisical" Bullock, he enlists the help of Harvey "White Knight" Dent to interrogate Loeb's former partner, Charley Griggs.

Charley sends them on a wild goose chase to Xi Lu, Loeb's shady bookmaker. That leads them to the business ends of machetes, so they make a dash for it. Harvey Bullock comes to their rescue.

Swoon, my hero. I say we dub him "Lackadaisical Knight."

They shake Charley down again, this time with his head sticking out a car door, inches away from the speeding highway. Harvey Bullock does not play.

After confessing that Falcone knows where the dirt on Loeb is, Jim and Harvey (Bullock, not Dent) visit Penguin to get the details. He promises to show them where the file is on Loeb, but only if he gets five minutes with the files and a favor from Jim whenever he wants.

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Jim agrees, much to Harvey's objection.

Penguin takes them to a house outside of town. Loeb owns the house, but an elderly couple lives there. You know something's up when the wife used to work at Arkham.

As they sit down for tea with the quaint couple, they hear thumping upstairs. Jim and Harvey make their way there, even though Margie Pie tries to stop them in their tracks with a rifle. Like that would stop them.

Locked in the attic is Loeb's daughter, Miriam. You can tell the lights aren't all on upstairs when she's dressed in a baby doll dress, has a tea party with her dolls and is in her late 30s.

Jim and Bullock join her at her deranged tea table. She tells them about her singing and crafting hobbies.

About her little Etsy shop of horrors: she kills birds and uses their bones to make jewelry. Yikes. That's when it hits Jim: Miriam, not the commissioner, killed her mother.

Now that Jim's learned how Gotham runs, he uses this information to his advantage. He visits Loeb in his office again, this time setting his daughter's bone necklace on the table. He's not afraid to use Loeb's Cobblepot to his advantage.

"You're much colder than I thought," Loeb says to Jim. "So it seems," Jim replies sharply.

But Jim's offer isn't really cruel, just calculating. Loeb's daughter gets to stay put, away from public scrutiny and out of the hellhole that is Arkham. Meanwhile, Flass gets a fair trial, and Jim gets Loeb's endorsement for president of the police union.

And so begins Jim's rise to the top. I was wondering how he was going to clean up a town as corrupt as Gotham. The only way he can do that is if he gets a little dirty himself.

But will he tarnish his own image beyond repair?

"You tell yourself, 'I'll just do this one bad thing. All the good things I'll do later will make up for it.' But they don't," Harvey admits to Jim.

He's already promised one favor to Penguin. How sullied will Jim's character be when Penguin comes to collect on that favor?

MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM "EVERYONE HAS A COBBLEPOT"

Best Harvey One-Liner: "You know the last time the three of us took a ride, you were in the trunk. I liked that better." – Harvey to Penguin

Best Penguin One-Liner: "What would you prefer, Detective Bullock? A sign saying 'super secret blackmail hoard?'" – Penguin to Harvey. Watch out, Harvey. He's coming for your title!

Creepiest Line: "You're lucky I have a soft spot for old ladies." – Penguin to Marge. Yes, we know. Stop reminding us already!

Scariest Line: "He looks just like a bird! I love birds!" – Miriam about Penguin. Run, er, waddle, Penguin! Waddle!

Best Work Ethic: Alfred, for trying to leave his hospital bed after getting stabbed, to find the guy who stabbed him. And I thought I was a trooper for writing tonight's recap with the flu, pfht.

Most Gaping Plot Hole: Miriam's disappearance. She was a teenager when she murdered her mother, so people had to know about her existence. I realize GCPD is corrupt, but wouldn't it raise even more suspicion if a man's wife and daughter vanished at the same time?

Best New Look: Fish's new eye. Yeah, I know, it's not the badass, spiked and studded eye patch I was hoping for, and colorblocking was so last season. But it fits the edgy-meets-glam vibe she already has going on. Nicely done, Dolmacher. I can't say the same for your other gruesome human patchwork experiments. Barf.

Most Extreme Breakup: Marge strangling her husband (Jude, not Homer — you're thinking of the wrong Marge) to get a one-way ticket to a bullet in the head from the Penguin. Geeze, you know, a divorce would have been easier.

Worst Taste in Men: Kris Kringle. First she liked Flass. Now she likes this chump who deserves a slap on the face for slapping her ass. Plus, if you're going to go for a guy who does riddles, make sure they're better than the ones you find on Popsicle sticks. Never thought I'd say this, but Ed's a catch in comparison. I said in comparison!

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